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The majority of the world's natural resources are poorly governed. Globally, and within most countries, we dissipate much of the value of our natural resources and we are not using resources sustainably. The continued degradation of our natural resource systems is not just an ecological tragedy, but also a human one: it will be harder to achieve sustained human development in the long run if if we continue to weaken the earth's life-support system. Why have societies persistently failed to govern natural resources well? The problem is not that humans lack an adequate understanding of how natural systems work. Rather, the problem is primarily political and behavioral in nature, related to governance and the failure of humans to create institutional arrangements that support coordinated actions locally, nationally, and internationally. Although analysts have made important advances in our collective understanding of governance arrangements for natural resources, there is much work to be done, especially when it comes to moving from knowledge to policy decisions and actions.
The mission of this Center, which spans both the Environment & Society and Institutions Programs at IBS, is to bring together scholars who are committed to conducting collaborative and problem-driven research that seeks to inform decision making about human-environmental interactions at multiple levels of governance.
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